• Tickled Pink

    Style | Dress Code  

    Sara Kerens, a budding fashion photographer and friend of mine, recently shot a few frames of me for her blog series "People I Know." It's quickly becoming a collection of friends in her life doing what she finds to be interesting things. I am honored to be photographed by her and hope that through this interview, you might stumble upon a thing or two about me you didn’t know before.

    Photographed in New York, NY by Sara Kerens

    What inspired you to start Unabashedly Prep?

    I was thumbing through a Teen Vogue issue (January 2009) and stopped at an article about a teen shoe blogger. Straight strawberry blonde hair framed these youthful milky-skinned cheek bones—she'd just been awarded the opportunity to design a capsule shoe collection for Urban Outfitters. She was only 17 and publishing her wildly popular style blog out of my backyard (Dallas). All I could think was, "Why am I not doing this?"  It was inspiring. Seventeen seconds later I was brainstorming what would later become Unabashedly Prep.

    What men's brands and styles have influenced your own taste?

    While most Americans possessed, at the very least, an ambient awareness of Polo by Ralph Lauren in the early 90s, I wasn't wearing it. I loved the sensibility but the fit wasn't what I wanted. There was this baggy thing going on at the time—all the kids were practically drowning in their clothes. What did fit was Abercrombie & Fitch. I remember meticulously pouring over the first ever A&F Quarterly and seeing a pair of slim denim with a slight taper that actually fit properly. I thought, "That's it. That looks great." I grabbed my mom, flipped on the charm (hey, somebody had to pay for the Shetland sweaters, chinos, and oxfords I was feverishly circling in the catalogue), and we were off to the nearest A&F shop 40 miles away. The next day at school classmates stared at me like I was sleepwalking the halls naked. I couldn't care less because it didn't feel juvenile...it felt cool. I was 15 at the time.

    Eventually, Abercrombie & Fitch mutated into the sex-peddling, logo-flinging jeans and T-shirt monstrosity you see today—a brittle shell of its former nouveau-prep glory. They lost me when they quit designing sport coats, sweater vests, and ties. When Ralph Lauren introduced Rugby in 2004, a line with the silhouettes and sensibilities of a younger guy, I started pulling their new takes on old classics into my wardrobe.

    Three years later, I met Sid Mashburn when I interviewed him for Unabashedly Prep. It was then that I began to appreciate the beauty of a "uniform." There is an ease about a great jean, an English bench-made shoe, a dress shirt, tie, and blazer that still looks put together.

    Check out the rest of her interview with me accompanied by additional images over at her blog.

    • Randolph Engineering aviator sunglasses
    Ralph Lauren cashmere cable knit sweater
    Rugby white denim
    • vintage Omega Seamaster wrist watch
    • Smart Turnout nylon watch strap
    • brown Alden snaffle bit loafers (not pictured)

    Jun 12, 2012 | Permalink (6) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 1:32 AM:

    @Alice—No worries at all. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the site. For the record, I was subscribing to Teen Vogue at the time because Bruce Weber was shooting for them, often. His work still serves as a huge inspiration for me.

    Alice left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 1:15 AM:

    Oh shoot!

    I forgot two quick things in my super long comment.

    1. I love your comment box! It’s so cute and a nice throwback to the days of paper and pens. Those were the good ol’ days.

    2. Sorry for commenting on such an old post! It may seem a little creepy so my apologies!

    The Ace of Hearts

    Alice left a comment on 8/9/2012 at 1:13 AM:

    Hello hello F.E. (if I may call you that)!

    I came across your blog a while back and absolutely loved the idea of it!
    However, today is my first time commenting so I was trying to find something special to share my insight on.
    I originally was planning on commenting on your newest post (about Barbour coats) but I somehow landed on this page.

    First, oooh I know who you’re talking about! Jane from Sea of Shoes! I love that she’s from Dallas since that’s where I grew up. It’s pretty cool that you’re from near there too! :)
    Wait…you’re a 27 year old man reading Teen Vogue? Okay. I’m not judging! It’s a free country and everyone does strange stuff!
    Oh Abercrombie&Fitch;...what happened?
    My older brother used to work at A&F and I remembered loving the clothes there. Then, as I got older, I realized that all they did was sell sex. Tight shirts, short skirts, A. Fitch written on anything. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve owned anything from there in a while. It feels nice being able to say that.

    Anyways, before I ramble on and on anymore, I just want to say that your blog is awesome! Even though it isn’t really like the other blogs that I currently read, it’s very inspirational and full of lots of pretty clothes and pretty people.

    Awesome sweater here by the way! It’s such a happy color and so vibrant!

    Have a lovely day! :)

    The Ace of Hearts

    P.S. This is totally random but I feel like you would get along really well with my older brother. He seems to have the same taste as you (and a bajillion other people in the world I suppose).

    PSP left a comment on 7/17/2012 at 6:03 PM:

    FEC, you should consider posting the back of the Omega Seamaster, very cool.  Also if you need to remove scratches from the crystal headlight restorer works pretty well.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/10/2012 at 1:09 PM:

    @Thomas—As a photographer, Bruce Weber is one of my chief photographic influences and often shoots for Teen Vogue. That’s why I had a subscription…for the tears.

    Thomas left a comment on 7/10/2012 at 11:08 AM:

    What is a 27 year old man doing reading Teen Vogue?


  • It’s a Trapp

    Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Noteworthy: A.R. Trapp handmade-to-order tortoise shell eyeglasses, cotton shawl cardigan sweater.

    Jun 7, 2012 | Permalink (9) View/Leave Comments

    MGM left a comment on 7/19/2012 at 6:54 PM:

    Great look.  Great style.  I especially like the rolled up jeans.

    Angel left a comment on 7/18/2012 at 11:49 AM:

    Nice shot F.E., very simple and classic look. Looks like the Staten Island Ferry, I love taking rides on it when visiting NYC.

    Angel’s Point of View

    Elizabeth left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 4:16 PM:

    A sweater is the last thing I’d want to put on right now (it’s been in the 90s where I am), but seeing this gent’s cardigan makes me look forward to fall!

    Aggiek left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 10:25 AM:

    Great look for fall. We’ve had such hot weather that I don’t want to wear long pants, much less a sweater.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/15/2012 at 12:26 PM:

    @Deb—I believe it was mid 70s (maybe cooler) this particular early morning on the Staten Island Ferry. I often have a shawl collar linen/cotton sweater in hand when I’m near water, just in case.

    I photograph and share dress code images here for inspiration. They also serve as an ongoing look book of friends’ and acquaintances’ looks that I like. Rarely do I list what brands my subjects are wearing (unless I’m specifically asked by a reader here in the comments, then I make an effort to find out). The exception to this would be a notable piece of jewelry, accessory, or a company I’d like to introduce people to (like in this case, A.R. Trapp). Is A.R. Trapp aware that I mentioned their glasses on my blog? Probably not. They don’t even have a website. These photographs are not, and have never been, “subtle” marketing spreads for the companies/pieces I determine worthy of mentioning. Often I’ll provide a link where you can pick up the same or similar noteworthy item (if you choose to shop there, I get a small commission on what you spend). If these serve as subtle marketing for anything, it would actually be (not-so-subtle) marketing for my own taste. So perhaps I’m marketing my taste to you ;)

    Deb left a comment on 7/15/2012 at 8:44 AM:

    I would be dying in jeans and a shawl sweater. Fred, are these “shoots” actually (not so) subtle marketing spreads for the companies that these folks work for?

    Desmond K left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 11:19 PM:

    I love everything about this look. From the pop of color coming from the shirt to the wash of the jeans and then topping it.off with a textured cardigan. And those glasses….well that’s just icing on the cake.

    C.L. Young left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 6:34 PM:

    I really like this whole look and I think the shawl collared sweater brings it from standard to interesting! The striped t-shirt adds the color. 
    I like the idea of the light colored tortoise shell glasses but I can’t really make out the shape of the frame. Although I like Gant (the brand), they will never be as great as they once were in the 1980’s. I wish they would use more of the old “vintage” patterns. I loved the rugbys and polo shirts they made in the 80’s. I’ve seen Gant tortoise shell glasses recently that are really great but these glasses are a “step up” from Gant!

    Allie left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 4:58 PM:

    Loving the whole look!!


  • Grace Pearson


    I love hearing from you ladies and gentlemen. Whether it's an impromptu introduction on the street, an encouraging comment, or in this particular case, a personal email...I appreciate it all. Cue Grace Pearson, pictured here in her favorite bespoke French navy suit. She wrote me to simply say "thank you." In a recent interview with the New Zealand Herald, Pearson rattles off style icons such as Jackie Kennedy, cites Unabashedly Prep as her principal style inspiration, and discloses that she makes her own bow ties. And if you can believe it gentlemen, it actually gets better.

    Photographed by Babiche Martens for New Zealand Herald

    The young kiwi works in a man's world—that of made-to-measure tailoring. Pearson is cutting her teeth at the contemporary Auckland tailoring house Crane Brothers, who not only cut suiting for men, but women as well. If Pearson was the last woman to ever fold inspiration gleaned from Unabashedly Prep into her personal style, I could stop blogging a happy man. And the admiration is mutual. In fact, she's the newest addition to the Dream Girl file.

    Read the rest of the interview as she goes into the finer details of her personal style and the nagging premonition she's the only preppy girl in the entire country.

    Jun 5, 2012 | Permalink (13) View/Leave Comments

    Dora left a comment on 7/20/2012 at 9:38 PM:

    i’m curious to know what your wife says about your “dream girls” pinboard. they are all babes!

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/19/2012 at 11:35 AM:

    @Elizabeth—I’m imaging a classic leather closed toe heel in walnut.

    Elizabeth left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 4:12 PM:

    She looks spectacular! I wonder what sort of shoes she was wearing with this?

    Leslie left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 1:50 PM:

    Love your blog, but I wonder why I have received this and many other posts three times in the last week?

    emjkmj left a comment on 7/13/2012 at 5:38 PM:

    @ Trailer Trad, if that’s reason #425, I’d like to see #1-10!  p.s.  great name BTW.

    Trailer Trad left a comment on 7/13/2012 at 1:30 PM:

    New Zealand is great, Reason #425.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 7:23 PM:

    @Andrew—Did you not read the first paragraph? :) Miss Pearson is the one who passed this along to me.

    Andrew left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 5:56 PM:

    Assuming the New Zealand Herald isn’t a daily read of yours, did you find this because tit popped up on your google alert for UnabashedlyPrep.com? Either way, an amazing and gorgeous girl. Sigh…

    Saturdays left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 2:53 PM:

    She is definitely an interesting person. And that interview was fantastic, I’ll have to watch Valentino: The Last Emperor to better understand what drives her.

    Y.L. Hollander left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 9:19 AM:

    It’s as if Annie Hall and Gordon Gekko had a love child.

    A terribly bright, engaging and gorgeous love child.

    Desmond Kinlaw left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 9:17 AM:

    She is just fascinating. Her look is classic. She looks like a woman who can command respect and attention. I think that’s very important and honestly one of the most attractive traits one can posses.

    Chinos & Cheesecake

    Robert left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 7:56 AM:

    Stunning…I wish my tailor looked like her.

    David left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 12:27 AM:

    Good to see a New Zealander here.


  • Submariner

    Top Drawer | Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Noteworthy: Rolex Submariner, Glen Urquhart plaid linen/silk/wool sportcoat, colorful sock, perfect jean length (accentuates height in avoiding a break).

    Jun 1, 2012 | Permalink (18) View/Leave Comments

    chris crabill left a comment on 8/31/2012 at 2:21 PM:

    I had the same watch. I bought it for $1200.00 new and sold it used for about $2900.00. I purchased a Omega seamaster for $200.00 .It keeps better time and when I dive I use a seiko diver from 1966.

    Jon left a comment on 7/18/2012 at 11:45 AM:

    Very classy, HarrsionK.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 11:05 PM:

    This gentleman’s watch is a Submariner (check the updated link above in ‘Noteworthy’). When I go through the effort of highlighting a specific piece, it is what I say it is. There is no debate. There is no second-guessing.

    HarrisonK left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 7:36 PM:

    @AEV -  his watch looks to be a two tone submariner with black dial and bezel, I have the same one.

    Elizabeth left a comment on 7/16/2012 at 4:18 PM:

    Those white pants look so crisp and comfortable for what sounds like a pretty warm day in the city.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 3:07 PM:

    @AEV—I’m not even going to acknowledge that farcical remark with a proper response.

    AEV left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 10:24 AM:

    His watch doesn’t appear to be a Submariner. C’mon Fred.

    Hot Texan left a comment on 7/14/2012 at 12:12 AM:

    Why is his blazer collar turned up?

    Paris left a comment on 7/12/2012 at 11:35 AM:

    Andrew always looks amazing. It’s about time he’s on this site.

    Russell left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 10:39 PM:

    What would you say is the perfect length of a jean. If I am typically a 32 Inseam, where should the pants end? I am 6’1 and I typically like having trousers finished at the top of the of the shoe’s tongue.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 10:14 PM:

    @Michael—I photographed this gentleman recently. I’m pretty sure this guy works in an air conditioned office for the majority of the day. On this particular day, it was like 79 degrees or so…which is prime temperatures for a linen jacket.

    Michael left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 10:09 PM:

    When was this photo taken? It’s been to hot to wear an outfit like this.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 3:29 PM:

    @Wait, What—I believe these are Ralph Lauren Purple Label suede wingtips.

    JONG PARK left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 2:54 PM:


    TTG left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 1:26 PM:

    Thats a very nice looking blazer! Very nice outfit.

    Jennifer left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 11:42 AM:

    I wish my boyfriend dressed like this!

    James left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 11:10 AM:

    Not gonna lie… the socks were unexpected. Was sort of picturing this look w/out socks.

    The look is on point.

    Wait, What left a comment on 7/11/2012 at 10:57 AM:

    Nice look. AE Players’ shoe?


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